Frankenstein Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ October 22, 2011
This is one of the best horror classics! As a non-horror fan, I can honestly say that this film blew me away, from the great tone, to the great acting, to the fantastic camerawork, it just adds to the perfection of the story. Dr. Frankenstein creates a monster that has lived on from generation to generation and even with an age of 90 years, the monster is quite terrifying. Although it is not without it's slow moments, I was so invested in the story that the funny practical effects that don't really hold up, didn't even phase me. I was drawn into this story until the very last moment, which is extremely intense by the way. Over time, films like these can degrade themselves, and to some, it definitely will, but "Frankenstein" is still fantastic!
Super Reviewer
January 24, 2014
A timeless classic, perhaps the most notable and influential of the Universal monsters, and even if more amusing than terrifying for today's standards, it remains a striking experience, with stunning visuals that owe their inspiration to German Expressionism.
Super Reviewer
½ August 27, 2010
The very original monster movie, based upon the book by Mary Shelley, James Whale's cinematic masterpiece remains one of the best horror movies of all time. It remains a highly adapted piece of fiction, and this was the first film adaptation. It was also the birth of the Universal monster movie canon, which would later include the films "The Wolfman" and "The Mummy". This is the epitome of good creature feature while retaining intelligence and posterity for the world of the unknown. It's a film that still remains creepy even eighty years later, and though its subject matter has been twisted and changed for many different mediums, it still stands alone as an immense achievement. Veering from the original subject matter consistently, this version has Dr. Frankenstein locked away in an old tower with an assistant, trying to reanimate dead tissue on a laboratory table, and digging up dead bodies to get what he needs. He reanimates the creature using an abnormal brain stolen from a medical college, but the beast gets loose. He goes about terrorizing the countryside, but is felled and the doctor marries his darling Elizabeth. Even with the changes in script the film retains its poignancy for the gothic, and the transparency of human life rebuilt to accommodate the lunacy of a madman. Every player in this story is significant, every moment of horror at the grotesque appearance of the monster is appreciated, and the entire cast gives enlightening performances. Boris Karloff as the monster has to be the greatest of a Universal monsters besides Bela Lugosi as Dracula. Colin Clive is the seminal Dr. Frankenstein, unmatched in any adaptation as he is both ruthless for the power of God and mad with his own crazed psychosis. The sets look amazing, the mood and tone remain classic, and it gives a lot of insight into the world of monsters, which became apropos in the thirties. Simply a must see for anyone.
Super Reviewer
October 1, 2012
It's finally October and I've decided to do reviews of notable horror movies for the whole month. Any review I post (other than the ones of movies that are released into theaters) will be a review of a horror film, so let's begin wuth 1931's Frankenstein. It's based off of Mary Shelley's novel about a mad scientist who creates a monster in his attempt to play God. Boris Karloff plays the monster and he is just fantastic. Karloff's performance required him to be completely covered in makeup and the actual design of the monster looks great. It's a face that will be forever remembered when it comes to movie monsters. Karloff is one of the greatest horror icons of all time and this movie is what introduced him into the mainstream. Colin Clive is also great as Dr. Frankenstein and Dwight Frye is excellent as Fritz, the hunchbacked assistant of Frankenstein. The set design for the movie is terrific. Parts of the movie have scenes in a laboratory and the overall design of the lab in this movie is so good. I didn't feel like I was watching just some phony set, I really believed that this was the lab of a crazed scientist. The movie also includes shots a villages and castles and those are also great. While the film is visually stunning, the story also holds up, even to this day. There are parts where you actually sympathize with the monster. He's really nothing more of a freak of nature part of an experiment that went awry. He's a curious thing, but people still scream at him and want to burn him. One scene that always stands out in the movie is when the monster is sitting by a lake with a little girl and she's acting all innocent and sweet and out of nowhere, the monster grabs her, throws her in the lake and drowns her. The little girl didn't even do anything, yet the monster kills her anyway. (Sigh) What a lovable dumbshit. That's really one of a lot of memorable scenes in the movie. It all ranges from the part where Dr. Frankenstein yells "It's Alive!" to the climax of the movie. The movie even has its fair share of themes including the darkest side of Xenophobia and the consequences of playing God. One thing that I want to address is that nowadays people refer to the monster as Frankenstein even though Frankenstein is the name of the doctor who created the monster. I've never understood how people started that. Anyway, Frankenstein is one of the greatest monster films of all time and it's a staple of Halloween pop culture. Boris Karloff's outstanding performance is what brought the monster to the light of day. From what I've heard, the movie doesn't really follow the novel by Mary Shelley, but I really don't think that matters. Frankenstein is great either way and it really does stand the test of time.
Super Reviewer
½ May 13, 2012
I might as well say right now that if you are looking for a straight adaption of the Frankenstein story, you are in the wrong place. Being someone who has read the book outside of literature classes, this film never really follows the original tale at all. In fact, it actually improves the tale. In the original novel, there was quite a few times in which the feel of Shelly being the immature writer (not having that must experience in writing) was very overpowering. But taking the script for a stage play adaption of the novel (just like with Dracula), what we get is probably one of the best telling of Man's attempt to be God.
The story we all know by heart: screwed up doctor tries to play God by making man. But what a lot of people don't do is really look at the film for this film is not about Dr. Frankenstein (yeah people: the doctor is named Frankenstein. Not the monster. GET IT BLOODY RIGHT!), but about the symbolism of The Monster. One thing you tend to notice about the classic horror stories is the symbolism each of the monsters stand for. Dracula stood for depression (being alone for centuries). The Wolf Man for a woman's period (watch the film, and you will get why I even say that). The Creature Of The Black Lagoon for puberty (a hideous man trying to win the heart of a gorgeous woman). With Frankenstein, the symbolism is being unaccepted. Once The Monster is free from Frankenstein, it tries to be part of society and be accepted. But due to him literally having the brain of a mass murderer (damn you, Fritz!), he can't help himself and like most misunderstood people, he is hated by everyone. Even his maker. That is why James Whale's adaption strikes such a strong chord with people: it is all about a person that no one understands. No one gets. And Whale shows this perfectly in his flawless direction. He shows this while still providing the morality tale of Man trying to be God and the end results.
There are only two people that need mentioning in this film in terms of acting: Boris Karloff and Dwight Frye. First off with Karloff. Like most people, they have to credit this film to him. He seriously sells this film with his timeless portrayal as The Monster. I honestly do not know how to do this review justice. This is one of those performances that just speaks for itself. Everything from the way he moves to his grunts. I am not going to review that performance. All I will say: it is legendary for a reason. I love Dwight Frye. I adore this man's ability to act. In Dracula, I liked how he played a sane man and then turned into an insane maniac while swapping back and forth. Here I love how he plays a mentally disturbed assistant that, in my observation, might have a deeper meaning. Okay, bare with me for a bit. It is known that James Whale was openly homosexual and in his films there are some undertones that suggest his sexuality. With Frankenstein, my believe is that Fritz became jealous of The Monster's relationship with Frankenstein and as such why he has such a strong hatred for the Monster. It is all about jealousy and the feeling that you are going to be replaced by someone you have grown to love. I believe that Frye used that to his advantage and helped to create this hunched back maniac. Brilliant.
The rest of the actors (mainly Colin Clive and Edward Van Sloan) do their characters justice in bringing them all to life. But none of their performances actually stand out to me in this film. Hence why I won't go into detail about their acting.
When I decided to review there classic horror films, I had to go and see if their horror still lives up. Like with Dracula (and I am guessing like with the rest), it does not. But as a drama and a tale of man's desire to be God, this film lives on for a reason. I have seen numerous adaptions of this tale, and while as an adaption this is terrible, as a film it works. Even 80 years after it's release. So, why only four and a half stars? Simple: While it did touch me in the way that I could relate to the monster, I would have liked it if they expanded on the characters a bit more.
Super Reviewer
January 2, 2012
One of the most famous horror films ever filmed, Frankenstein starring Boris Karloff is a must see for every horror fan. Universal Studios brought horror to a mainstream audience with such titles as this. Frankenstein has got to be one of the most famous horror films in the history of cinema, and with good reason. This 1931 horror classic secured Karloff's reputation and made him famous. Loosely based on Mary Shelly's book of the same name, this adaptation was changed quite a bit, but nonetheless is very exciting to watch. If you're a fan of old school horror films, then this 1931 version of Frankenstein is the one to watch. This is a must see monster flick, and after all the years, still manages to terrify and thrill the audience. Boris Karloff is a horror icon, and though his role in The Mummy cemented his reputation even further, his role as the monster in Frankenstein is his ultimate performance. Director James Whale crafts a solid film and every cast member delivers a strong performance. Of course I think the best performance of all belongs to Boris Karloff as he really brings a certain quality of innocence to the monster, which makes the viewer sympathetic towards him. Overall this is a fine horror classic that should be on the list of horror films to see by every horror fan. A flawless film, Frankenstein may differ from Mary Shelly's classic, but for what it is, this is a unique twist on a classic horror tale. I very much loved the film, and if you want to explore the genre than the regular horror flicks of today, and watch something different, and great, then this is a terrific monster flick to watch.
Super Reviewer
April 26, 2007
James Whale's landmark 1931 release of Frankenstein is one of cinema's most engaging and thought provoking pieces of material. Not quite the horror film one might expect, it delves into the subject of xenophobia. Colin Clive's performance as the mad scientist is absolutely wonderful, as is Boris Karloff's career-defining portrayal as The Monster. I find this to be an annual film to watch every Halloween. It's such a wonderful film, regardless of the year it was made or how much it ages as time goes on. The story and themes themselves don't age.
Super Reviewer
October 25, 2011
A horror classic. For me, honestly I think it's lost a little of it's magic over time but still has some shocking and beautiful moments. The scene where the monster meets the little girl is great. Also the image of her father carrying her dead body through town, with all the laughing people suddenly noticing her and looking in silence is one of my favorites.
Super Reviewer
½ November 10, 2006
Truthfully I dont really know why people always overrate this movie over the Original Dracula wich was much better on so many levels. Yes some of the acting ine Dracula might have been over the top but you cant tell me the same is not true for this movie. Besides that prejudice I hold this is a great classic horror movie so I love it. :)
Super Reviewer
January 25, 2007
although the sequel is usually considered the better film, i prefer this original in most aspects. the acting and story are better and the images a bit more iconic, although the sequel produced many great images as well. the philosophy behind mans attempt to play God shines through in the film as much as the novel, and for a 1931 film the subject matter was challenging. one of the truest classic horror films in history.
Super Reviewer
½ September 3, 2010
A classic movie with horror great Karloff.
Super Reviewer
March 29, 2010
A satisfying and entertaining monster movie with a good moral message. It doesn't do justice to the novel, and it's influence is greater than the film itself, but still, it's worth a watch. I could go on and on writing about this film, but it's been praise enough, so very little of what I could say would be original. All people who call themselves movie lovers need to see this.
Super Reviewer
½ March 2, 2010
It's no Citizen Kane. But it's pretty impressive for being from 1931. Beats Nosferatu in every way......not even close man. Murnau....suck it!
Super Reviewer
November 17, 2009
A classic that lives up to all of it's hype. Of the Universal Monsters, Frankenstein is the king. The tone and style is amazing, beautiful and haunting at the same time. The acting is perfect and allows you to enjoy the movie. The story was told so simply, yet powerful and meaningful. It feels like a horror/noir and definitely gave influence to the majority of later horror films and just film in general. It made horror a believable world.
Super Reviewer
November 29, 2007
i can't watch this now without thinking of spirit of the beehive :(
Super Reviewer
December 28, 2008
One could argue that it was Frankenstein, not the earlier Dracula, that cemented Hollywood's stake (pun intended) in the horror genre and ultimately saved Universal Studios from pending bankruptcy.

No single person can be credited for the success of this classic. James Whale, Boris Karloff, Mary Shelley, Jack Pierce, Carl Laemmle Jr., all should be praised for bringing Frankenstein to life. Having said that, there is one person who deserves a share of the praise and, to this day, goes virtually uncredited for the picture's success, French writer Robert Florey. Florey was the one who took Shelley's unfilmable novel and carved out a treatment that met Universal's time and budget requirements. It's a shame that Florey goes without recognition because without him there would have been no Frankenstein and thus no Bride of Frankenstein and, quite possibly, no Universal Studios.
Super Reviewer
November 5, 2008
After striking gold with Dracula Universal tried again with Frankenstein, the adaptation of Mary Shelley's novel about a scientist (Colin Clive) who is obsessed with creating life to the point of grave robbing. He pieces together a man and attains life, but it goes terribly wrong as his creation (Boris Karloff in his breakout role) begins a reign of terror throughout the countryside.

James Whale directs Frankenstein in a way that makes it different from other productions of the era. His camera angles are more complex and interesting as they follow the action of Dr. Frankenstein's rise and fall. You see multiple angles of the lab, giving us more of a subliminal understanding of what's going on, even if we don't.

Karloff's monster is a great achievement of cinema. Without speaking, he portrays the creature as sympathetic, even when he's throwing children into the lake. He doesn't understand. He kills when he's threatened, not out of blind rage. Karloff shows us this without even speaking and makes us feel sorry for this heinous monster.

Frankenstein was yet another achievement for Universal and made them two for two in the monster making business, ushering in decades of superior and pathetic creature features for the world to digest.
Super Reviewer
December 11, 2007
"frankeinstein" along with "dracula" have been listed as the legendary horror phenonmenon in the 1930s, and they saved lots of theaters from going bankrupt then, and they're the saviors of box office as long as they're double-featured together. it shall be the myth of 1930s.

lots have been said about frankenstein, even its dismissed scriptor robert fortley who got fired becuz of his support for bela lugosi has been mentioned. mae clarke, the woman who gets hit by james cagney with grapefruits in "public enemy", plays the finacee of dr. frankenstein after her copperation with james whale in the original "waterloo bridge"

ignored by some, frankenstein does have something deeply profane within its ideology. "frankenstein" daringly suggests the possibility of creating life without natural course that is the best target bombarded by puritanical american society then, and the fragmented outlook of frankenstein is the symptom of modernism, a half-baked state of man-machine stumbling along to demonstrate the contaminating sin of industrialization. homoeroticism as well as autoeroticism is also suggested in it since dr. frankeinstein chooses to create life in the abscence of female, and dr. frankestein exclaims "it's alive" when the monster arises to life, his excitement seems to border on sexual ecstacy, and then he marvels "with my own hands!!!!" the masturbatory insinauation is reeking everywhere. besides the course of "making life" with his hunchback assistant seems to appeal dr. frankestein more than endearing his finacee's bedroom.

and the subliminal purpose for the existence of deformed monsters like frankenstein is the phobia toward disfiguration after wwi. audience needs some surrogates to suffer from their suppressed subconscious fear so flicks like "frankestein", "dracula" even tod browning's "freaks" could occupy a space in this decade.
Super Reviewer
September 15, 2007
James Whale knew what he was doing and this one definitely earns its status as a classic (as opposed to its being one of a set like SOME Universal studios horror 'classics'). Well acted on everyone's part and everyone really threw tehmselves into thier job: set design, costume, makeup and lighting. I have nothing bad to say about this movie.
Super Reviewer
½ September 9, 2007
This movie delivers on the creepy. It may have been made a long time ago but the make up effects still hold up today. The acting was great and the movie is just well made. It is a classic and you can tell why.
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